Man writes one page a day to a series of seven novels, every day, never stopping until he is finished. Horror meets modern-day Lord Of The Rings in this tale spanning 70,000 years about a twenty-four year old named Marvin and his encounters with an ancient anomaly known only as the "Harvester".
Mr. Rhodes had been checking the water flow of a second sink back in the main living area. A small kitchen had been built back when the room was first constructed. Cheap pine counter tops stretched out six feet in length, providing a plane to rest a coffee pot or microwave upon. A dinky mini fridge sat underneath the farthest part of the counter where the corner met the bathroom entrance, joining a set of four cabinets to its left. Above the counter top housed another set of four cabinets, all panelled with ply wood doors that opened with tiny brass knobs. Stephen reached over to the mini fridge and responded back.
“Well, heh, I haven’t changed it since Leroy built this thing. That was about fifteen years ago.”
Marvin was still baffled by the size of the bathroom. By the look of the water heaters size, he couldn’t imagine having a hot shower for more than five minutes. His hopes of having a relaxing evening were slowly starting to dwindle.
Well, maybe it’ll be better once I get some stuff in here.
Stephen remained fixed on the craftsmanship of the mini fridge, fumbling with various buttons and knobs on the top of the unit whilst talking amongst himself. Marvin didn’t take much notice and began to inspect the rest of the floor space. The red carpet extended from the stairs and throughout the length of the apartment.
A small circular window positioned itself on the wall furthest from the stairs, helping tie the parallels of living life on a house boat. Bumps in the walls spread out sporadically as paint streaks and bubbles ran down them. It was a hurried job, one that Marvin would incessantly question for the remainder of his stay.
He wished to speak with Billy, but the musician was currently out on the road. The band’s second tour had taken them through the Midwest and onward to the west coast. Marvin let out a vigorous sigh.
Shit Billy…why didn’t you tell me it was a garage?
Red walls.. You told me Michelle painted the entire place red to calm her nerves…
Marvin walked cautiously into the living space and noticed a closet door hinged to the right hand wall. It was kept shut with a loop hook that pulled firmly on the force of the door. Wooden slats ran horizontally between its dainty frame. Marvin peered inside to find a tiny, makeshift bathroom with vinyl flooring.
On the right side, a stall shower and toilet rubbed up against one another. Like the outer room, the ceiling sloped at the furthest end. Marvin could see that the ceiling would graze his scalp each time he’d make use of the facilities. To the right of the toilet further in was a small, two shelf storage space that was built straight into the wall itself.
A little cabinet box mirrored the shower, a place to house the sink pipes and other odds and ends. A rusty sink faucet rested up above, dribbling amber dust into a basin each time anyone made use of it.
The shower head poked through a slab of chipping drywall, exposing insulation through the gaps it created. Beneath it, the stall floor was brown in spots from oxidation. It hadn’t been cleaned properly in over a decade, harboring germs and other harmful pathogens.
Something caught Marvin’s eye in the bathroom which rested furthest in against the back wall. A small water heater had been placed there with pipes and handles protruding outward and through the floor boards, showing their wear. It rose three feet high, and looked just as old as everything else Marvin had seen up until that point.
Stephen brushed his knees off of what looked like dirt and drywall.
“Ugh, this is gross.”
The stairs were a rose red color. A small rectangular window had been placed next to the sixth stair. The viewing glass was a foot and a half wide and seven inches tall. It only opened from the outside as far as Marvin could tell. More spiders and cobwebs hung desolately in the corners of the first three stairs and cleared out once he climbed higher. The carpet was lain poorly and the wooden platforms underneath had begun to show through the fabric mess. Stains of mud and other artifacts remained from past treks and Marvin wondered what stories they told. Mr. Rhodes turned the corner and vanished from Marvin’s sight. He called out to him from inside.
“C’mon up Marvin.”
The apartment itself was roughly the size of a standard living room. The walls were made of out of drywall that had been painted over numerous times and chipped at the ceilings edge. The roof was eight feet tall at its highest point and slopped down in both directions starting from the middle. Where the ceiling met the walls, a clearance of four feet remained. Marvin would be unable to stand in roughly twenty five percent of the entire apartment.
Looking to the far right corner of the ceiling, he noticed a small streak of red illuminating through the rushed white cover up. Marvin was reminded of Billy once more, feeling his secrets coming to life.
If you saw it, you’d never forget it. A small welcome mat had been placed inside the garage side entrance with the words “Welcome Friends” written across it. Surrounding the words were illustrations of vines and briar thorns. The fabric consisted of fake green plastic grass, the kind Marvin knew never to walk on barefooted. The words and pictures were all in white. Marvin assumed it belonged to the previous tenant. He wondered how thorns could be welcoming, their sharp points putting him on edge already.
Did Billy leave this here?
He stood staring into the pad and further into the concrete surrounding it. Stephen was at the top of the stairs now and let out a mucus filled cough that echoed throughout the corridor.
Shit.. Maybe Michelle put it here.
Marvin passed over the threshold and placed his right foot on the bottom step. As he started the ascent, he looked up to find Mr. Rhodes peering back at him, his hands resting upon his knees.
“It’s a little musty from the previous tenant, he never cleaned up in here.”
Marvin was still unsure as to who occupied the space most recently. He’d soon find his answer in the words of the fat man.
“The old man worked from home and smoked a lot of cigarettes. I tried to keep the windows open for a couple days but the bugs kept laying eggs and stuff.”
Mr. Rhodes had his back to Marvin as he talked, fumbling with another key ring. Marvin, still befuddled, spoke out.
“Whaddah you mean?”
Mr. Rhodes turned a second key and began to open another door. Marvin could see a stairwell over the land lords right shoulder. He got a funny feeling that came over his entire being. Mr. Rhodes began to chuckle and looked back at him.
“Your apartment silly!”
The door flung open and the large man ascended the staircase before him. Marvin was now aware that he would be living in the upstairs of a garage. He let out a deep breath and took to the red carpeted stairwell in front of him, minding the spiders as he entered through. The daylight had begun to subside, allowing the chill to finally take hold of the increasing darkness.
He would only last eight months in that chaotic hell, and Keepers would see to it.
Stephen was chatting on a Motorola Razor cell phone by the time Marvin caught up with him. He was still confused as to what the fat man meant by “the garage”. The side door leading into the storage shed was white and sat two feet from the black top beyond a patch of pebble filled grass.
A dumpster rested nearby containing heaps of other resident’s scraps and refuse. Marvin concluded that the renters were low to middle class citizens with small incomes. He was merely assuming, of course.
“Yeah Jon, the games still set up. I didn’t touch it.”
Marvin wondered what “game” Mr. Rhodes had been referring to. It was then that he remembered his Playstation 2 sitting in the back seat of the 4-runner. He couldn’t wait to get settled in and take a load off. So much had run across his mind over the course of the day, and he wished for a rum and coke. He had sprite and no alcohol.
“If you wanna come tonight, I’ll order some pizza for us again.”
He kept silent for a moment while Mr. Rhodes turned the key. Marvin began to inspect the entry way, noticing a cluster of spiders claiming the bottom left corner of the space within. A centipede scuttled past the top of the door frame and Mr. Rhodes entered in.
“Ok, just give me a holler than. Bye bye.”
Stephen juggled his cell phone along with the tomato that he had picked out in the garden patch. The corridor was only big enough to house one body, and Marvin would have to wait until Mr. Rhodes proceeded further in.
As he walked, he heard no sounds coming from behind him. The wind was too strong to allow it, and in a few moments Marvin would have wished it weren’t. He reached the 4-runner about forty five seconds later. As he fumbled with his key ring, he felt a moist ridden hand pulling back on him. It was Shannon, and she towered over him with the same cold hearted stare he’d given her. She looked at him for three seconds and slapped him across the face.
Before Marvin could regain his bearings, she grabbed a hold of his chin and came within two inches of his face. She stalled for a moment, starring him deep in the eye before letting go. She kissed him on the lips, the warmth of her soul entering Marvin like a ghost.
Seconds passed that felt like hours. When she pulled back, Marvin had still been reeling from the pain in his right cheek. Shannon stepped back a few paces and looked him down from head to toe, smiling now. Her words were still choking.
“Call me tonight. Ok?”
With that, she was off. Marvin was left to wonder a million different thoughts at once. He fell to his knees while watching Shannon scurry across the vacant parking lot. Her jacket was unzipped now and he could see a red button up shirt with satin lace on the bottom poking through.
His memory returned and the day began to weigh on him. He could hear no sounds coming from the field hockey area or the football field located just behind him. He was alone and all that could be heard were the sounds of crows squawking in the late afternoon sky. He looked to the north where home had been waiting for him. Clouds had gathered there. He climbed into the 4-runner and joined them.
Marvin was blowing hot air into his palms. He wanted so badly to feel for her, but he hated Brandon. He thought she’d be better off without him.
“And you’re laughing at me?”
Shannon peeked over her shoulder to see Marvin rubbing his hands together vigorously. She wasn’t surprised by his reaction. She knew her boyfriend hated him as well. She was still upset, but began to laugh and started again.
“Well I don’t blame you..he didn’t like you either. You know?”
Marvin looked back at her, this time stone faced and collected. He wasn’t crying. He was angry and his lips quivered. The gleam in his eye took Shannon by surprise and he retorted back at her.
“Is it that fucking obvious?”
His voice began to shake with rage and he looked away once again.
“I always seen you two prance the halls between fourth and fifth period. It makes me fucking sick.”
Marvin rose to his feet, still blowing into his icy palms every few seconds in between his vicious rant.
“Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the time you’re takin’ to help me out, but I don’t need your shit. You’re a bitch and I always knew you were, so don’t bother with me anymore.”
Marvin started off in the direction of his vehicle with a hurry that pulled him. He couldn’t feel his legs anymore, and the flesh on his hands was beginning to tear. He stopped and looked back after ten feet or so. Shannon looked stunned as she peered into his face. He spoke once more.
“You’re smart. Go find another jock douche bag, bitch.”
Marvin could have lied, but Shannon already knew the answer. Brandon would always tease her every Thursday when she would have to tutor.
“Make sure to call me after you’re done with the kid here.”
Marvin could have killed him a thousand times over, but he wasn’t the type to resort to violence. The pain remained on the inside, building each and everyday. On that particular afternoon, Marvin would speak his thoughts and feelings to Shannon Leavits. He would hold nothing back.
Stooped down on the stair next to her, Marvin took a seat on the opposite side of the hand railing. He didn’t face her, but sat close enough that she could hear him breathing. The cold was bearing down on the both of them and Marvin began to sniffle. He spoke.
“Yeah..I do. I know he’s your boyfriend. What of it?”
Marvin’s tone had become far more serious as he looked to the west. A wooded area sat behind the school science wing and a trail worn cement path fed into the greenery beyond it. From there, it led into a clearing which comprised most of the field hockey area. He wondered if they had practice that afternoon, his thoughts scrambling now as to avoid the situation currently unfolding.
“He..Well, he broke up with me today.”
Shannon joined the symphony of sniffles as the wind began to pick up. It was going on 4:30 and Marvin gave the girl his undivided attention. He didn’t show it, but he was interested in hearing more.
Shannon looked back at Marvin, this time with moist cheeks as mascara escaped down the sharp contours of her face. Marvin could see her green eyes, the swelling tears bringing them a much fuller look than he’d ever seen before. They resembled saucers, giving the illusion that her nose wasn’t as big as it had previously appeared. She wasn’t sobbing, but the tears kept coming. As Marvin attempted to comfort her, she looked away. He stood there motionless in the breeze of the frigid air. Shannon spoke from behind her hair, now sticking to the corners of her lips and jaw line.
She started slowly, trembling.
“You know who Brandon Fletcher is, right?”
The two looked longingly into stars woven on an american flag. It hung from a metal pole stationed in the center of the parking circle. They both knew Brandon. Marvin knew he was Shannon’s boyfriend and he hated him immensely.
Brandon played on the boy’s varsity basketball team and always made snide remarks to the kids smaller than him. He was always the team captain during gym class and never picked Marvin to be on his team. His family was of Italian decent, a juice head and a Guido right down to the soul.